Marshmallow tea is made from the marshmallow plant, which grows perennial throughout North America, Western Europe and Asia. The root contains a gel-like substance that is commonly known as mucilage, which is the primary source of the tea’s benefits. Marshmallow tea has been used by several cultures for its medicinal benefits for over 2,000 years. As of 2011 there are few official studies done on the benefits of marshmallow tea, but some research already confirms some of the benefits. The primary health benefits of drinking this tea include relieving and preventing gastrointestinal problems, fighting inflammation, and aiding the respiratory tract.
There are several ways in which marshmallow tea is believed to aid the gastrointestinal tract due to the mucilage that creates a coating around the digestive tract that both soothes and protects the area. It is generally believed that the coating may also help to prevent ulcers. Marshmallow tea may also treat irritable bowel syndrome and act as a laxative. It loosens the bowels, and the anti-inflammatory properties may slightly relax the muscles. To use the tea in this way, it is usually recommended to drink the tea followed by a large glass of water to help the mucilage reach the gut faster.
The inflammation properties of this tea makes it popular among many people interested in homeopathic remedies. Several people drink marshmallow tea to help with colitis and gastritis as well as any oral inflammation. It is also occasionally drunk to fight the common cold and cure sore throats. In fact, the tea is believed to be so effective in curing inflammation, many people also use it topically.
Some research confirms that marshmallow tea has a few benefits for the respiratory system. It is believed that it may reduce the symptoms of bronchitis as well as asthma. As of 2011, unconfirmed reports suggest that long-term use of the tea may even prevent respiratory infection. Some people even drink marshmallow tea as a cough suppressant.
Typically, the tea is made from fresh or dried marshmallow root. For stronger teas, the root is normally wrapped in cheesecloth and boiled in a few cups of hot water and drunk with or without a sweet additive. Although there is no known level of toxicity from drinking the tea, it may interact with other herbs and drugs. It is recommended that a healthcare professional be consulted before drinking this tea for medicinal purposes.